Protesters at Port of Newcastle should respect the law and public safety

May 05, 2016

Anti-coal protesters planning to interfere with operations at the Port of Newcastle this weekend should be prepared to accept the full consequences under the law if they act unlawfully or put the safety of themselves and others at risk.
 
“Everyone has the right to protest, but it should be done safely and within the law. Unfortunately we’ve seen in the past that professional anti-coal protesters have deliberately broken the law to make their point, putting themselves and others at risk,” NSW CEO, Stephen Galilee said today.
 
“The protest this weekend organised by activist group 350.org must be conducted lawfully. The organisers have a responsibility to ensure all involved act lawfully and do not risk the safety of others.”
 
“To protect public safety, the NSW Government recently passed legislation for tougher penalties for protesters that choose to break the law. These new laws are a strong deterrent against people doing dangerous and stupid things that put others at risk, while maintaining the right to protest within the law. We hope that 350.org respect these new laws over the weekend,” Mr Galilee said.
 
The Port of Newcastle is vital to the economy of the Hunter, just as part of the Hunter coal supply chain, but for other industries as well. The Hunter Business Chamber said earlier this week that ‘Our port has a key role to play in regard to growing and diversifying the Hunter and State’s economy’.
 
It’s unfortunate that the proposed protest activity organised by 350.org has cost the Hunter economy following the decision by Oceania Cruises to cancel the cruise ship Insignia’s planned stop in Newcastle over the weekend.
 
“Many of these professional activist groups have been calling for the diversification of the Hunter economy, yet the actions of 350.org have now cost the Hunter this diversification opportunity.”
 
“While there will always be some people intent on breaking the law to make their point, we hope that common sense will prevail among the organisers of this weekend’s protest. If not, they should be prepared to face the tougher laws recently passed by the NSW Government,” Mr Galilee said.
 
Contact: Harry Hughes | hhughes@nswmining.com.au | 0409 758 734 | 02 9274 1419 

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